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Belgian Tervuren | Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Personality & Facts

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By Emma Braby

Belgian Tervuren

Height: 22 – 26 inches
Weight: 45 – 75 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Colors: Fawn and black, mahogany and black
Suitable for: Active families, experienced dog owners, homes with space, companionship seekers
Temperament: Loyal, hardworking, intense, affectionate, protective

The Belgian Tervuren is a purebred pooch who is relatively rare in America. So, if you like the look of the German Shepherd or the Belgian Malinois but you fancy a pooch who is a little more unique or hairier, this could be the dog breed for you.

This is one of four Belgian herding dog breeds, so, you guessed it, this dog is very energetic, and they need to live with an active family. But if you can provide them with the work or the energy-burning schedule, they will return the favor in lots of love and canine company.

This dog is devoted to its family and would do anything for them. They also have a great sense of humor, so all in all, this pooch makes a fantastic family pet for many families. But the question is, are you the right owner for one? Well, here in this Belgian Tervuren complete guide, we’re going to help you discover just that.

So, let’s dive straight into the Tervuren testimony.

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Belgian Tervuren Puppies

Belgian Tervuren puppy
Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

Before you fully commit to the Belgian Tervuren, you need to understand that you must be an active family that can commit to the high energy of the Tervuren. Without it, they will become unhappy and soon become problematic. So, for the happiness of all involved, including your best furniture, you need to be able to set aside 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous exercise every single day. And if you can’t, you need to look for another dog breed altogether.

This is a loyal and devoted dog who loves to be with their human family all day, every day. If you are looking for a four-legged best friend who will never leave your side, the Tervuren is capable of providing you with intense companionship. But, if you prefer an independent pooch who will respect your personal space, you should move onto the next dog breed.

With this in mind, the Tervuren needs to live with a family that can keep them company. If there isn’t someone in the family that can be at home for most of the day, this relationship just isn’t going to work. For those times when you do have to leave them for a few hours, it is a good idea to crate train them so that they have a safe place to rest while alone.

Although closely related to the Malinois, who is very trainable, this dog has an independent streak, which means they have stubborn off-days. This trait, combined with their intensity and neediness, is why we suggest that they are only suited to those who are experienced with dogs.

The Belgian Tervuren is not for a novice dog owner, and many can find them overwhelming or too much dog to handle. So, unless you are experienced or you are going to seek professional canine behavior training assistance, this dog breed is not for you.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Belgian Tervuren

1. The Belgian Tervuren Has Another Name

In Belgium, this dog has another name, which is the Chien de Berger Belge. For the rest of the world, it is named after the town that they originate from, which is Tervuren, which is just east of Brussels.

2. The Belgian Tervuren Is the Most Elegant of the Four Belgian Herding Breeds

This dog is the most graceful of the four Belgian breeds, not only in their personality but also their looks. The long coat and mane give them majestic appearance, and their gait is floaty and effortless. So, if you prefer a posh pooch, this one is an excellent option for you.

3. The Belgian Tervuren Is a Police Dog in Belgium

Because the Belgian Tervuren is a devoted and intelligent breed, they are the Belgian police force’s dog of choice. This means that if you are confident in dog training, you could find yourself a trainable guard dog on your hands.

Belgian Tervurens playing
Image Credit: dSnottyBoggins, Pixabay

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Belgian Tervuren Temperament & Intelligence 🧠

If you can handle the points we mentioned above, this dog makes a fantastic family pet. They are is loving and affectionate with family, love to snuggle with their primary caregivers in the evening after a busy day at work, and with that thick lion’s mane, they make a tremendous canine heater. They are also full of character, and this is a comical pooch who is forever making their family laugh. This characteristic is one of the main aspects of their personality that keeps Tervuren lovers with the breed for life.

The Tervuren is also a faithful watchdog, and they’ll be sure to alert you to anything untoward around. Although they don’t replace the need for a fire or intruder alarm, they’ll most certainly protect you in the face of danger.

Thankfully, because they are intelligent, they know to accept strangers into the house when their master tells them that they are friends. When told to relax, they will do so happily. Despite their cute and fluffy appearance, they have a booming bark, and even the bravest wouldn’t dare mess with them when in family protection mode.

Are Belgian Tervurens Good for Families? 🏡

Yes, the Belgian Tervuren makes an excellent family pet, but just like all dog breeds, they need the right family. Their high energy and intense character can be too much for some families to handle, especially for inexperienced ones.

As long as you can provide them with their needs that we’ve already mentioned above, it is a versatile dog that can slot themself into most families and brings smiles to all that choose one.

They makes a great canine sibling for families with children, too. But, because of their herding instinct, they may try to herd new children. So, if you notice this behavior in the home, you need to train it out of them straight away.

Just because this dog is more commonly chosen as a family pet rather than a traditional herding dog, this doesn’t mean that they will drop their herding instincts. You need to work with them for then to become a suitable family pet, not try to change them.

Belgian Tervuren
Image: SnottyBoggins from Pixabay

Do Belgian Tervuren Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

As long as they are well socialized, they are likely to get along with dogs and other pets. Remember their herding nature, and expect that they might try to herd them. But again, as long as you are strict with them, their intelligent brain will soon understand that this is unacceptable.

They do have a high chase instinct, and this means two things for prospective Belgian Tervuren owners. Firstly, their yard needs to be secure so that they cannot get out and chase the local cats. Secondly, they should always be kept on a leash when you are out in public because they will chase after other dogs and cyclists.

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Things to Know When Owning a Belgian Tervuren

Owning a Belgian Tervuren isn’t an easy feat, and here are a few extra factors that you need to take note of for one to stay happy and healthy.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Belgian Tervuren needs high-quality food that will provide them with plenty of protein for their high energy and muscle power. Dried kibble is a convenient way to feed them protein without the mess or risks that raw food has, and they’ll need approximately 2½ cups of food a day. Vitamin and mineral supplements are added to the kibble in the cooking process, and they are often fortified with probiotic ingredients that will keep their digestion regular too. The food that you choose for your dog should be life-stage appropriate.

This is a medium to large-sized dog, and as such, it is vital to feed them a kibble that will control their bone growth rate as a pup. You can do this by feeding them food that is designed for large breeds. This will lower the chances of them developing bone diseases when older, which is particularly crucial for the Belgian Tervuren and their skeletal health concerns.

Exercise 🐕

The Belgian Tervuren needs between 60 and 90 minutes of exercise a day. They would love to be worked on a farm or a ranch as a herder. But if this is not possible, varied and intense exercise will do just fine.

They make great jogging partners, agility dogs, and frisbee fetchers. But as long as the exercise is intense, they’ll enjoy whatever the activity is. Just be sure to mix up the events because they will become bored if you do the same thing day in and day out.

They will also need mental exercise on top of this. A great way to stimulate their mind is teaching them new tricks and commands. Not only will this keep their intelligent mind challenged, but it will also help to strengthen your bond with them and give them their human fix. Easy brain games are also an excellent way to keep this dog happy.

Training 🦮

The Belgian Tervuren doesn’t just magically turn into a fantastically behaved pooch. It takes time, effort, and proper training to transform one into the Tervuren that we all know and love, which is why they need someone who understands how a dog’s mind ticks.

This is a protective guard dog who needs proper socialization to ensure that they don’t become overprotective. It is vital to introduce them to unfamiliar people so that they don’t grow up to think that every stranger is a threat.

Socialization is not just a case of mixing them with other dogs and humans (although this is super important), but it is also about exposing them to all the day-to-day things that they will experience.

The Belgian Tervuren should be crate trained as soon as you bring one home, with a crate ready and waiting for them on arrival. This will give them a space straight away that they can call their own, and you can relax knowing that they aren’t going to destroy your furniture while you are away.

Belgian Tervuren
Photo credit: SnottyBoggins, Pixabay

Grooming ✂️

The Belgian Tervuren has a fluffy coat that needs a fair bit of grooming compared to the shorter-haired Belgian Malinois cousin. You should brush them several times a week to keep the coat looking healthy and to keep matting at bay.

When it comes to their jacket, this dog is more like a Collie, especially with the voluminous neck mane, which is also commonly referred to as a collarette.

They’ll need a bath once every 8 to 12 weeks or so, and it is advised to get a natural concentrated shampoo that will be able to penetrate their thick coat. If your dog has sensitive skin, be sure to choose grooming products that are designed for sensitive skin.

All other grooming routines, such as nail clipping, ear, and eye cleaning, is the same as every other dog. As you brush them, keep an eye out for any changes in their body or appearance.

Health Conditions ❤️

The Belgian Tervuren is a purebred dog, and just like all other purebreds, this breed is prone to specific health conditions. Thankfully, this is a relatively hardy dog who enjoys a long lifespan of 12 to 14 years.

Minor Conditions
  • Sebaceous adenitis
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
Serious Conditions
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Von Willebrands disease
  • Bloat

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Male vs. Female

When it comes to personality, there is not much difference between the two sexes. Personality is shaped more by environment and training, so it’s essential to invest time and effort into everything for them to live their best life.

Males are larger than their female counterparts, and they also have a larger collarette than females. So, potentially, males need slightly more grooming and a bit more space.

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Final Thoughts: Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren is a regal and elegant Belgian herding dog who has a never-ending stamina and work ethic. They also have plenty of love and cuddles to give to their human pack.

As long as you can provide them with the experience dog training knowledge, company, and exercise, this dog will slot themself into most families with ease. They are sensitive, but they are also a happy pooch who always wears a big grin on their muzzle.

Because this is a rare pooch, you might have to place yourself on a puppy waiting list, but they’ll be worth the wait when you bring one home.

See also:

Featured Image: Vera Reva, Shutterstock

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